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 Market Segmentation

An organisation cannot satisfy the needs and wants of all consumers. To do so may result in a massive drain in company resources. Segmentation is simply the process of dividing a particular market into sections, which display similar characteristics or behaviour. There are a number of segmentation variables that allow an organisation to divide their market into homogenous groups. These variables will be discussed briefly below


Demographic Segmentation

Demographics originates from the word ‘demography’ which means a ‘study of population’. The population can be divided into age, gender, income, and family lifecycle amongst other variables.

As people age their needs and wants change, some organisations develop specific products aimed at particular age groups for example  nappies for babies, toys for children, clothes for teenagers and so on.  
Gender segmentation is commonly used within the cosmetics, clothing and magazine industry. All Bar One within the UK have developed their bars to attract the female audience, taking opportunity of the rise in the number of women who now enjoy ‘social drinking’. In the UK we have also seen the introduction of Maxim, (www.maxim-magazine.co.uk)  a male lifestyle magazine covering male fashion, films, cars, sports and technology. We have also seen the introduction of unisex cosmetic products like CK1  which works on the similarities between the two genders.

Above: Age & lifecycle segmentation: As people age their needs and lifestyles change.

Income segmentation is another strategy used by many organisations. Stores like Harrods, Harvey Nicohals are predominantly aimed at the affluent market. Daewoo aim their vehicles at price sensitive buyers who require a bundle of benefits for the price. In today's globally competitive environment brands are specifically developed and positioned within particular income segments inorder to maximise turnover.

Products and services are also aimed at different lifecycle segments. Holidays are developed for families, the 18-30's singles,  and for those in their 50's.      

Geographic Segmentation

Geographical segmentation divides markets into different geographical areas. Marketers use geographic segmentation because consumers in different areas may display certain characteristics and behaviours in that particular region, for example, in London UK certain parts of the West End of London are more affluent then the East End and you will find particular products sold in these regions based on their affluence. An area can be divided by the town, the region or the country. If you are an organisation working on a global scale you may divide by global regions such as Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Africa. Mcdonalds globally, sell burgers aimed at local markets, for example, burgers are made from lamb in India rather then beef because of religious issues. In Mexico more chilli sauce is added and so on.

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Further reading:

Case studies from www.thetimes100.co.uk

Principles of Marketing by Philip Kotler

Principles of Marketing by Frances Brassington